Archive for the ‘macro photography’ Category

Godox XProF – TCM Function

November 6, 2019

Godox makes two types of wireless flash triggers (radio) that are compatible with Fujifilm X Series digital cameras, listed from less expensive to more expensive: the Godox X2TF; and the Godox XProF. Both flash triggers have essentially the same functions. The X2TF has a slightly lower price point than the XProF, smaller footprint, and a pass-through hot-shoe; it lacks the TCM Function featured on the XProF.

TTL

“TTL” stands for “Through The Lens” metering. Some external flash units, such as the Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash for Fujifilm Cameras, are TTL-compatible, meaning the camera will set the flash power ratio automatically for proper exposure. So what’s not to like about that?

A photographer has no way of knowing what the flash power setting is when using an external flash unit in TTL mode. Some photographers might be surprised to learn that TTL exposure can vary from one shot to another, often quite noticeably. That can be a problem. For example, repeatability is a big concern in macro photography, especially when creating focus stacks. So what’s the solution? TCM Function.

TCM Function

“TCM Function” is a proprietary feature of the Godox XProF that stands for “TTL Converted to Manual,” translated loosely. Here’s how it works.

The “Magnification/TCM Button” (shown below) is a toggle switch: a short-press switches the display on the LCD panel back-and-forth from the settings for all off-camera flash groups (A-E) to a magnified view of the settings for one group, e.g., Group A (that can include one or more external flash units); a long-press activates the TCM Function.

Godox XProF Instruction Manual.

Set the XProF for TTL mode. Take a test shot, then long-press the TCM button. You should see the display on the XProF switch from TTL mode to Manual mode, showing the equivalent manual settings for the TTL test shot.

Godox XProF Instruction Manual.

This feature can be useful for quickly determining a good starting point for setting external flash units in Manual mode. Try it. I think you’ll like it!

Take-aways

Which model Godox radio flash trigger should you buy, the X2TF or the XProF? That depends upon what’s more important to you — either the pass-through hot shoe or TCM Function. You can have one feature or the other but you can’t have both in a single flash trigger.

Related Resource: PIXAPRO ST-IV Functions and Features (Instructional Video), by PIXAPRO (6:59). Note: Godox is known as PIXAPRO in the United Kingdom.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Another unknown species of odonate exuvia

November 4, 2019

Another odonate exuvia was collected by Michael Powell during a photowalk with me on 01 June 2019 at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The genus and species is unknown.

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (face-head)

This specimen might be a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), as indicated by its labium (face mask) and pointy eyes.

Although this exuvia looks similar to the other one that Mike collected on 01 June 2019, it’s smaller and probably not another Slaty Skimmer (L. incesta) exuvia. Many species of skimmers are habitat generalists; the small pond where both exuviae were found is a perfect spot for many members of this family.

The photo (shown above) is a one-off, not a composite image. I plan to create higher quality composite images of this exuvia, shown from all viewpoints including dorsal, ventral, and lateral views. The composite images and one or more dichotomous keys will be used to attempt to identify the genus/species of the specimen.

Related Resource: Vimeo video: Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06).

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photograph featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens plus lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing. Camera settings: focal length 80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent); ISO 200; f/16; 1/180s.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode: Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash (manual mode); and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). Both flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Building a case for Slaty Skimmer

October 23, 2019

With each new photo set of this unknown species of odonate exuvia, a case is building slowly for Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta).

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (lateral)

A piece of white schmutz was removed from the tip of the abdomen, enabling a clearer view of abdominal segment nine (S9). Look closely at the two photos featured in this post. Notice there are stubby mid-dorsal hooks (not cultriform) on abdominal segments four through eight (S4-S8).

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (dorsal)

The last photo shows a closer view of the anal pyramid. Notice the lateral caudal appendages (cerci) are less than half as long as the inferior appendages (paraprocts).

Soltesz, p. 43 – Key to the Species of the Genus Libellula

Field marks that match this specimen are highlighted in boldface green text.

1b. Dorsal hooks regularly present on segments 4 to 8. [2]
2b. Palpal setae 5 (sometimes 6 in cyanea). [5]
5a. Epiproct distinctly decurved at tip. [6]
6b. Length of last instar about 26mm; cerci less than half as long as paraprocts. [incesta]

Punch List

I need to look at the inside of the labium (face mask) in order to count palpal setae. The epiproct must be cleaned to see whether it is decurved. This exuvia was deformed as a result of emergence, so it’s impossible to make an accurate measurement of the length of the specimen. That said, the exuvia is more than 22.0 mm (0.9 in) long. (22 mm is the length of the last instar for L. cyanea.)

And of course, I need to annotate all of the images in this series of blog posts in order to illustrate the unfamiliar vocabulary that is used in virtually all dichotomous identification keys.

Related Resources

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photographs featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-16 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens plus lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing. Camera settings: focal length 80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent); ISO 200; f/16; 1/180s.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode: Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash (manual mode); and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). Both flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Unknown species of odonate exuvia (ventral)

October 21, 2019

This post features another photo of an odonate exuvia collected by Michael Powell during a photowalk with me on 01 June 2019 at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The photo is a one-off (not a composite image) showing the ventral view of the exuvia.

The genus and species is unknown. This specimen might be a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), probably Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta).

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (ventral)

Related Resource: Vimeo video: Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06).

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photograph featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-16 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens plus lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing. Camera settings: focal length 80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent); ISO 200; f/16; 1/180s.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode: Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash (manual mode); and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). Both flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Unknown species of odonate exuvia, revisited

October 18, 2019

This post features more photos of an odonate exuvia collected by Michael Powell during a photowalk with me on 01 June 2019 at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Both photos are one-offs, not composite images.

The genus and species is unknown. This specimen might be a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers).

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (lateral)

Mid-dorsal hooks are present on some abdominal segments. Lateral spines are located on abdominal segments eight and nine (S8-9).

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (dorsal)

I still need to take close-up photos of the anal pyramid and shoot photos of the ventral view before I attempt to identify the genus/species of the specimen using one or more dichotomous keys.

Related Resource: Vimeo video: Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06).

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photograph featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-16 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens plus lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing. Camera settings: focal length 80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent); ISO 200; f/16; 1/180s.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode: Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash (manual mode); and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). Both flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Unknown species of odonate exuvia

October 16, 2019

An odonate exuvia was collected by Michael Powell during a photowalk with me on 01 June 2019 at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The genus and species is unknown.

Occoquan Regional Park | unknown species | exuvia (face-head)

This specimen might be a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), as indicated by its labium (face mask) and pointy eyes.

The photo (shown above) is a one-off, not a composite image. I plan to create higher quality composite images of this exuvia, shown from all viewpoints including dorsal, ventral, and lateral views. The composite images and one or more dichotomous keys will be used to attempt to identify the genus/species of the specimen.

Related Resource: Vimeo video: Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06).

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photograph featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens plus lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing. Camera settings: focal length 80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent); ISO 200; f/16; 1/180s.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode: Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash (manual mode); and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). Both flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Panasonic DMC-FZ300 macro kit

October 14, 2019

The last two posts in my photoblog feature sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits.

The macro rig features the following gear: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera; Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter; and Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

Raynox DCR-250 not mounted on the camera lens.

The Godox flash trigger is optional. The Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter comes with its own lens cap. The lens hood can be mounted on the lens barrel when the close-up filter is mounted on the camera lens.

Raynox DCR-250 shown mounted on the camera lens.

It’s amazing how adding a relatively inexpensive close-up filter to the camera makes such a big difference in its capability.

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Nickel (coin)

October 11, 2019

A nickel — an American five-cent coin — was photographed at BoG Photo Studio. The subject was chosen for scale, since most people are familiar with the size of a nickel (~0.84 in, or 2.12 cm in diameter).

The purpose of this blog post is simply to show sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits. As you can see, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300/Raynox DCR-250 rig is capable of taking fairly high-quality macro photos.

Tech Tips

The macro photographs in this post were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). The external flash unit was fitted with Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering were used for all photos. f/4.0 to f/4.5 is the sweet spot for this zoom lens.

I like to carry a few nickels in my photo backpack since they are about the right thickness for tightening/loosening tripod plate screws. Also since the coin has a smooth edge it is less likely to make scratches than a coin with a grooved edge, such as a quarter (an American 25-cent coin that is 1/4 dollar).

300mm

300mm is 12x zoom. Some zoom is necessary when the Raynox close-up filter is attached to the camera lens since some vignetting is caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

600mm

600mm is 24x zoom. That’s a lot of magnification!

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toy dinosaur-lizard

October 9, 2019

A small toy dinosaur-lizard (~2.25 in, or ~5.72 cm long) was photographed at BoG Photo Studio.

I named the toy “Lizzie.” Clever, huh? She’s a “rescue toy” who is quite happy in her new home. (I found her on the sidewalk outside the apartment building where I live.) Lizzie enjoys working part-time as a model at BoG Photo Studio.

Tech Tips

The macro photographs in this post were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode), and Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras. Both external flash units were fitted with Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifiers. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering were used for all photos. f/4.0 to f/4.5 is the sweet spot for this zoom lens.

With Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

300mm is 12x zoom. Some zoom is necessary when the Raynox close-up filter is attached to the camera lens since some vignetting is caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0 ev

Without Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

300mm is 12x zoom. Notice the magnification isn’t close to what it is using the same camera settings with the close-up filter. Plus it’s worth noting the following image was cropped slightly for better composition. One external flash was used.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

600mm is 24x zoom, maximum telephoto magnification. One external flash was used.

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Quick-and-dirty test shots

September 13, 2019

I took some quick-and-dirty test shots using a new piece of photo gear in combination with some old gear. The focus (no pun intended) was more about testing the camera rig and less about posing and lighting the subject perfectly.

~16mm (86mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/400 s | -2.66 ev

An exuvia from an unknown species of odonate was collected by Joe Johnston on 17 July 2019 along Aquia Creek, Stafford County, Virginia USA. This specimen is definitely from the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails) and is probably a Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus).

Tech Tips

The macro photograph in this post was taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), and a Godox TT685O Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). The close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


%d bloggers like this: